CBS's Lara Logan on Iraq: 'We're Doing Extremely Badly' --10/16/2007
2. Sanchez Blasts Media, But Media Only Notice His Criticism of Bush
3. Chris Matthews Riffs With Anti-War Rockers Crosby & Nash
4. CNN's O'Brien Defends Gore Movie, Global Warming Debate Over
5. Turner: FNC to Blame for Iraq, U.S. Nukes Worse Than Iran Nukes
6. 'Top Ten Messages on Al Gore's Answering Machine'
Logan's full answer to Leno's question about how the U.S. is doing in Iraq: "We're doing extremely badly, from my point of view. I was asked if I felt any guilt for the fact that the world has an impression of the war in Iraq as being very bad and going very wrong? And I said I really don't because I can't imagine the last time anyone saw a dead American soldier. We've hidden that from view. Nobody knows what that looks like and I've seen plenty of it. It's much worse than the picture, the image we even have of Iraq."
[This item was posted Monday night, with video, on the MRC's blog. The video and audio will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert but, in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]
On the October 15 Tonight Show taped in Burbank, California, Leno also inquired about the surge:
LENO: Does the surge seem to be working, not working? As a reporter, what do you see?
The news media "eagerly reported" comments from General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top commander in Iraq, "calling the war in Iraq a quote 'nightmare with no end in sight,'" FNC's Brit Hume noted Monday night before pointing out how "there has been considerably less reporting of his harsh criticism of the press in the same speech." Indeed, in his Friday address to a group of journalists, Sanchez regretted how "tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for America because of the tremendous power and impact of the media" and scathingly asserted that reporters "are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war." Sanchez also charged: "For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own pre-conceived notions, biases and agendas."
Not surprisingly, that deprecatory view of the media did not interest journalists over the weekend. The NBC Nightly News, for instance, ran a full story Friday night on Sanchez's comments critical of Bush officials, but didn't mention what he said about the news media. CNN's Wolf Blitzer led the 7pm EDT hour of Friday's The Situation Room with how "Ricardo Sanchez says 'America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.' That's a direct quote. And he's sharply critical of U.S. strategy with stinging judgment of government officials." The critique of the media didn't come up in the segment with Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre. Saturday's front page New York Times article, "Ex-Commander Says Iraq Effort Is 'a Nightmare,'" ignored the media angle while front page story in Saturday's Washington Post, "Ex-Commander In Iraq Faults War Strategy," didn't refer to the scolding of the media until the very last paragraph.
The October 13 New York Times article: www.nytimes.com
Saturday's Good Morning America, however, briefly alluded to Sanchez's negative words for the news media, though "IRAQ WAR 'NIGHTMARE'; Ex-General Blasts War Effort" remained on screen as reporter Miguel Marquez related: "Sanchez blasted the media. He even recalled words that were used to describe him in reports during his tenure." Sanchez: "'Dictatorial and somewhat dense,' a 'liar,' a 'torturer,' 'does not get it.'" But that was it, nothing about his broader take on the negative impact of the overall media coverage of the war.
News reader Ron Claiborne set up Marquez's the story: "Strong words from retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez who, in a scathing speech, became the highest-ranking former general to criticize the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq."
On Friday night, NBC anchor Brian Williams announced: "Some surprisingly harsh words today from the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, the first man to hold that job, in fact. Retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez turned on the Bush administration, accusing it of a failure in Iraq."
Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski explained how Sanchez "claims that...the U.S. strategy in Iraq was doomed to fail. And in a scathing speech today, Sanchez blamed the civilian leadership at the top." Though "Sanchez acknowledged the military made mistakes," he, "without naming names, put the lion's share of the blame on the National Security Council, the President's top foreign policy advisors."
The very last paragraph of the October 13 Washington Post front page story by Josh White acknowledged: "Sanchez opened by criticizing the U.S. news media, saying he was unfairly labeled 'a liar' and 'a torturer' because of the Abu Ghraib scandal, and he alleged that the media have lost their sense of ethics. He said that members of the media blow stories out of proportion and are unwilling to correct mistakes, and that the 'media environment is doing a great disservice to the nation.'" See: www.washingtonpost.com
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Hume's "Grapevine" item in full on the October 15 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC:
"The media eagerly-reported comments by former top commander of coalition forces in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, calling the war in Iraq a quote "nightmare with no end in sight." There has been considerably less reporting of his harsh criticism of the press in the same speech which was made Friday to military reporters and editors. Some examples, quote:
A NewsBusters post has the text of the news media portion of Sanchez's October 12 remarks before a conference in Arlington, Virginia of the association of Military Reporters and Editors: newsbusters.org
The Web site for the group, which dubs itself "the official association of military journalists," has the text of the entire address: www.militaryreporters.org
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the NBC and ABC stories quoted above:
# NBC Nightly News, October 12:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Some surprisingly harsh words today from the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, the first man to hold that job, in fact. Retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez turned on the Bush administration, accusing it of a failure in Iraq. NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski is with us tonight for more on this story. Jim, good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Good evening, Brian. Sanchez is the highest-ranking former top U.S. military commander in Iraq to openly criticize the war, and today clearly laid the blame squarely on the White House. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez took command of all U.S. forces in Iraq only two months after the fall of Baghdad. Now retired, he claims that even by then the U.S. strategy in Iraq was doomed to fail. And in a scathing speech today, Sanchez blamed the civilian leadership at the top.
RON CLAIBORNE, 7:02am live feed: Strong words from retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez who, in a scathing speech, became the highest-ranking former general to criticize the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. ABC's Miguel Marquez is in Baghdad with more. Good morning, Miguel.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ: Good morning, Ron. It was a blistering speech from an unlikely source, the General who used to run things here. It was particularly odd in the timing of it because the administration had some of the best news out of Iraq recently in years. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez was top U.S. commander here for one year. In an angry, and at times personal, speech about the news media and politics of war, he did not hold his fire. He says the latest plan for Iraq, the surge, will not work.
CLAIBORNE, 7:32am: A former top U.S. general in Iraq is criticizing the war as a nightmare with no end in sight. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez says the current surge is a desperate attempt, his words, to make up for years of mistakes, but he says America has no choice but to continue our effort in Iraq.
Chris Matthews joined anti-war rockers David Crosby and Graham Nash as they pined for the good old days of Vietnam war era campus activism and hoped it would rise up again to oppose the "shameless liars" in the Bush administration. Invited on Monday night's Hardball to promote their appearance at a peace concert at the National Cathedral, Crosby and Nash riffed with the Hardball host about everything from the trashing of the Dixie Chicks and Bill Maher to how Big Oil has made "obscene" profits off the Iraq war.
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Crosby and Nash received such a friendly audience from Matthews that Nash actually sucked up to his host as he credited Matthews, along with Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, as the only ones who are really "asking the questions":
Graham Nash: "They used to, they used to, you know around 2003 when, when the administration were lying like they did and lied us into the war, everybody believed them. You do believe your mother, you do believe your father, you do believe the parental, you do believe. And if they tell you something's true, the majority of the public believe it and that's a shame. Who is asking the questions now? Only like, people like you and Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert, you know?"
Matthews, also sat idly by, as Crosby, essentially portrayed U.S. American servicemen and women as gullible tools of the administration:
Matthews: "Well what do kids, and I mean, I don't mean it patronizingly, what does a 20-year-old or an 18-year-old say to you when you raise these issues? Like you guys are on campus, you got tuition money, you're gonna graduate, become whatever. The kid over there, fighting, he's patriotic as hell, he's gonna get, some of them are gonna get killed but you don't believe in the war but you're not doing anything about it."
A little later Matthews returned to his "No Blood for Oil" conspiracy theorizing with the hippie-era rock stars:
Matthews: "Well I'll tell you one thing, I felt, felt from the beginning of this war and I'm not a Marxist but I have felt the power of money on the side of this war."
CNN viewers on Friday saw a relatively rare acknowledgment of those who are skeptical of Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, including a British judge who recently ruled that there are nine inaccuracies in the movie. But CNN's Miles O'Brien dismissed the views of dissenters, and downplayed the importance of the errors cited by the judge.
As he made several appearances on various CNN shows on Friday, O'Brien tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders," a "tiny fraction of a minority," and a "very small fringe," as he linked skeptics to fossil fuel companies. He also repeatedly declared that the scientific debate on global warming is over. Notably, on the July 20 The Situation Room, O'Brien had curtly lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts with similar comments on the subject: "You're not paying attention to the science, J.C. You're definitely not paying attention. ... The scientific debate is over, J.C., we're done."
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
During Friday's American Morning, anchor Kiran Chetry relayed some of the concerns of Gore's critics: "There have been some critics who say that the movie An Inconvenient Truth is filled with mistakes. A judge in Britain, in fact, just ruled that Al Gore's climate change film has nine errors. And you have the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" who said today that awarding this prize to Al Gore cannot be seen as anything other than a political statement."
Later in the show, Chetry brought aboard O'Brien, who is CNN's chief technology and environment correspondent, and asked him about the film's "inaccuracies." O'Brien listed a few of the judge's findings of errors, but still endorsed the movie: "If you go through all of those statements, they, in sum, do not actually go after the central thesis of the film itself, which is that global warming is real and there is a human connection there....the judge said in that same ruling when he said, you know, there are these nine mistakes, 'it is clear that it is based substantially on scientific research and opinion,' but it is a 'political film,' and, of course, as he put it, not party political. So, clearly what we're talking about here is, there isn't much debate in the science. The judge didn't even say that. But the point is the response has become politicized. And, as a result, people have gone after some of these small points, which, when you look at them, at specific instances, don't add up to really going after the whole thesis."
O'Brien made his next appearance during the 9:00am EDT hour of CNN Newsroom, during which he contended that the "very few scientists" who dispute the link between fossil fuel emissions and global warming were "in many cases, they're funded by the fossil fuel industry." O'Brien, speaking to anchor Heidi Collins: "You just said a few moments ago that some scientists say that there is a dispute over the link between manmade emissions of fossil fuels ...and the link to climate change. But the fact is that there are very few scientists that are saying them. And if you look at the small handful that are still saying this, in many cases, they're funded by the fossil fuel industry." He soon continued: "So there really isn't a scientific debate anymore on this."
He appeared again during the 10:00am EDT hour of CNN Newsroom, and this time labeled skeptics as "dead-enders" who are "few and far between." O'Brien: "I guess you could call them 'dead-enders' out there. There are a few that are still holding true to the notion that maybe this is some sort of natural cycle. They really are few and far between, Tony." The CNN correspondent also dismissed the significance of the judge's list of nine inaccuracies, contending that "they really boil down to exaggerations," and reassured viewers that the film "is based on substantive science." O'Brien: "The one thing the judge does say, though, which kind of got lost in the shuffle through all this because of the nine inaccuracies, is that it is his firm belief that the Gore film is based on substantive science."
At his next appearance during the 11:00am EDT hour, O'Brien called dissenters "a tiny fraction of a minority," and connected their funding to the fossil fuel industry as he again proclaimed that "it's not a scientific debate anymore." O'Brien: "And when you say some scientists disagree with that, it is a tiny fraction of a minority of scientists out there. And when you look at those scientists and trace their funding, frequently you are led to the fossil fuel industry. So, really, it's not a scientific debate anymore."
When O'Brien appeared on Your World Today during the 12:00pm EDT hour, he portrayed skeptics as "fewer and further between," charged that "the turf that they're standing on is narrower and narrower," and again claimed that "it's really no longer a scientific debate."
During the 1:00om EDT hour of CNN Newsroom, O'Brien called dissenters "a very small fringe," and characterized the inaccuracies cited by the British judge as "exaggerations, but not complete falsehoods." When anchor Don Lemon tagged the inaccuracies as "a little poetic license," O'Brien agreed that it was "a little bit of Hollywood there perhaps."
O'Brien appeared again during the 5:00pm EDT hour of The Situation Room where he commented that since Gore's film came soon after Hurricane Katrina, it turned out to be a convenient time for Gore to "turn up the heat on those who doubt global warming." O'Brien: "It may be little more than a glorified PowerPoint presentation, but it couldn't have been more convenient for Al Gore and for those who agree with him it is time to turn up the heat on those who doubt global warming."
After conceding that Gore "didn't let the facts get in the way of a good story, O'Brien listed some of the inaccuracies cited by the British judge, and commented that "the judge also said it is clear that ["An Inconvenient Truth"] is based substantially on scientific research and opinion" before again portraying dissenters as "fewer and farther between."
In an interview with GQ magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat....Their economy is not as big as Cleveland, Ohio! Does Cleveland, Ohio, pose a threat to the U.S.?"
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Turner's 2005 romanticizing of North Korea because he saw people riding bicycles, check the September 20, 2005 CyberAlert item, "To Blitzer's Amazement, Turner Defends Jong, Treatment of People," online at: www.mrc.org
For video and more from Turner on North Korea, check the October 12, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
The environment was a topic early on in the GQ interview, as Turner contended that overpopulation "is the cause of terrorism." He also branded Republican Senator James Inhofe an "idiot" for believing that the more liberal view on global warming is a "hoax," and labeled those who disagree with the CNN founder on the issue as "dumb." Turner: "There are some people who still think the world is flat. You know, you can't let a few nuts set your policy. We've got to get smart guys to set the policy. The question is, are the Smarts going to prevail over the Dumbs? We can't afford to make any more big dumb moves."
After Turner expressed his view that "the odds are against us," regarding the environment, and his fear of its implications for humanity's safety, Hylton brought up terrorism and rogue states, giving the CNN founder the chance to express his view that he is more afraid of America than Iran.
QUESTION: Are you worried about more conventional threats, like Al Qaeda, North Korea, Iran?
Those comments matched remarks from Turner recounted in a September 28 CyberAlert item, "Turner: Chance Humanity Will Survive Impaired by Bush's 'Bombing,'" online, with video, at: www.mrc.org
The GQ session soon moved to Iraq, and Turner's view that Fox News "helped fan the flames of this war."
QUESTION: You're also opposed to the Iraq war.
When asked if America can win in Iraq, ignoring the fact that the presence of American troops helps provide security for Iraqis, he suggested that America is an "empire" and contended that Iraqis "have an incentive to get us out," comparing the situation to an occupation of Washington, D.C., or of Britain's past "exploitation" of India. Turner: "If the Iraqis were in Washington, we'd be fighting. We'd have an incentive to get them out, just like they have an incentive to get us out. The days of empire are over. India sat there for fifty or a hundred years and let the British exploit them. Not anymore!"
When asked if America was an "empire," Turner continued on that theme, even dismissing the wisdom of having American troops in South Korea to deter an attack from North Korea. Turner: "We are an empire. And it's very unpopular. We've got military troops in some sixty countries around the world. What for? It's crazy! It's costing us a fortune, and most of them are just sitting there doing nothing, like our 18,000 troops in South Korea."
After complimenting Germany for being "way ahead of us" on global warming and for being "as smart as whips" because they have no troops in Iraq, he quipped that Christians are at a disadvantage in fighting Muslims because Muslims are promised "lots of sex" after death while Christians are only promised "lots of hymns" in heaven: "They believe if they die in warfare, they get forty virgins in heaven. The Christians don't get that! We have more incentive to live, because we don't know what we're getting, you know? Our idea of heaven is lots of hymns, and theirs is lots of sex! The risk-reward thing is skewed the wrong way."
Hylton brought up North Korea again, giving the CNN founder a chance to contend that North Koreans have a "healthier" lifestyle, and to dismiss the possibility of the country being dangerous, comparing it to Cleveland, Ohio. He also argued that America does not have "enemies" in the world, claiming that "our enemy would be a mistake or an accident, something that would cause the United States or Russia to launch their nuclear arsenal."
QUESTION: What was North Korea like?
QUESTION: You don't see North Korea as a threat?
The complete text of the interview was posted on September 20 on GQ magazine's blog. Below are some of the more significant portions of the interview:
QUESTION: First question: How has America changed in the past fifty years?
QUESTION: We still have some senators who say global warming isn't a problem at all. That it's "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
QUESTION: Are you worried about more conventional threats, like Al Qaeda, North Korea, Iran?
QUESTION: You're also opposed to the Iraq war.
QUESTION: Do you think we can win in Iraq?
QUESTION: What was North Korea like?
QUESTION: You don't see North Korea as a threat?
For the interview in full: men.style.com
From the October 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Messages on Al Gore's Answering Machine." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "Hi, Mandy from The Cheesecake Factory. You left your credit card"
9. "George W. Bush here. Congratulations on your Latin Grammy"
8. "It's Larry from Toyota. This global warming paranoia is great for business"
7. "Put on Letterman. Some idiot is going to jump over interns"
6. "This is Hillary. If you run for President, I'll snap your neck"
5. "It's Jets coach Eric Mangini. Can you play quarterback?"
4. "Ann Coulter here. Any way we can blame global warming on the Jews?"
3. "I'm calling from the EPA. Turns out there is no global warming; You're just sweating because you're getting fat"
2. "This is Jimmy Carter. Want to use our medals to score some babes?"
1. "It's Cheney. Watch your back, Jack"
-- Brent Baker